Women are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can have life-altering outcomes and is a major concern among the Indian population today. This is because lifestyle changes, including poor diet and lack of exercise, are causing conditions previously seen primarily in older people; now even the young are affected and impacted by these conditions.

How common is chronic kidney disease?

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 10 percent of the world’s population is affected by CKD and millions die each year because they don’t have access to affordable treatment. This is also because dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant creates a substantial financial burden for most people who need it and many people cannot afford it, especially in developing countries. Financial burden and economic disparity are also key reasons why women (despite suffering from the condition equally, if not more so) have worse outcomes from the disease. There is a lack of awareness and financial independence to seek treatment.

signs of poor kidney healthDon’t ignore early signs of kidney problems. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Also, while lifestyle choices can lead to chronic kidney disease, having a family history puts you at higher risk. People with CKD are also at increased risk of high blood pressure and heart-related problems, such as stroke or cardiac arrest.

Why are women more prone to chronic kidney disease?

Although some reports suggest that the incidence of chronic kidney disease is higher in women, the main reason for this is limited awareness and access to proper care, especially in third world countries. When awareness is low for the condition, it will result in late diagnosis of the disease and thus lead to poor outcomes. Women are also more likely to develop kidney disease because they are prone to lupus and kidney infections, which increases the number of CKD infections. One piece of advice: if a woman is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is best to consult a specialist to rule out kidney problems. CKD can complicate the pregnancy process and sometimes even cause high-risk pregnancies. Sometimes pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or toxemia of pregnancy leads to CKD.

So what are the symptoms of kidney disease?

Although CKD has specific symptoms, which are also in later stages, most of them are not diagnosable until the condition becomes quite advanced. However, if a person has been experiencing fatigue, poor appetite, swelling of the feet, or swelling around the eyes for more than a day or two, they should get tested. Early detection and prognosis are the best way to prevent the condition from getting worse because when CKD worsens, it can lead to kidney failure and even death.

diabetic patientsEarly diagnosis can keep you protected against kidney disease. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

How is chronic kidney disease diagnosed?

Kidney disease is detected through various methods. The first is the urine test that checks for the presence of the protein albumin, as too much of this type of protein can indicate signs of kidney damage. The second method uses age, gender, and blood tests to check creatinine levels, as these can measure kidney function and the extent of kidney damage, if any.

How to keep kidneys healthy?

The best way to prevent chronic kidney disease is by pursuing good lifestyle habits. If a person has a pre-existing health condition such as high blood pressure or high blood sugar, they should take steps to control it. Some other helpful tips include the following:

  1. Regular exercise and staying active can play a crucial role in not only keeping your kidneys healthy, but also keeping your weight under control, which is essential for good health.
  2. Keep your blood pressure under control, as excess glucose (sugar) in the blood forces the kidneys to work harder to filter the blood.
  3. Follow a healthy diet and focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low in sodium and are cooked at home.
  4. Drink water regularly, as constant water intake is healthy for your kidneys, and it’s best to aim for at least 1-2 liters per day.
  5. Limit and eliminate tobacco and alcohol use.
  6. Don’t take too many over-the-counter medications, including ibuprofen and naproxen: They can harm a person’s kidneys, especially when taken regularly for chronic pain, headaches, or arthritis.

If you suffer from these conditions, it is best to consult a doctor for advice on a treatment plan that is in sync with a person’s overall health and well-being.

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